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And then a nodding beam or pig of lead,
not seen, at Guildhall's narrow pass, Two aldermen dispute it with an ass?
105 And peers give way, exalted as they are, Ev'n to their own s-r-v-nce in a car?
Go, lofty poet! and in such a crowd, Sing thy sonorous verse—but not aloud. Alas! to grottos and to groves we run, To ease and silence, every Muse's son : Blackmore himself, for any grand effort, Would drink and doze at Tooting or Earl’s-court. How shall I rhyme in this eternal roar ? How match the bards whom none e'er match'd before?
115 The man,
who stretch'd in Isis' calm retreat, To books and study gives seven years complete, See! strew'd with learned dust, his nightcap on, He walks, an object new beneath the sun ! The boys flock round him, and the people stare: 120 So stiff, so mute! some statue, you would swear, Stepp'd from its pedestal to take the air! And here, while town, and court, and city roars, With mobs, and duns, and soldiers at their doors, Shall I, in London, act this idle part?
125 Composing songs, for fools to get by heart?
The Temple late two brother serjeants saw,
'Twas, "sir, your law,' and, sir, your eloquence,' Yours, Cowper's manner'-_and yours, Talbot's
Thus we dispose of all poetic merit; 135 Yours Milton's genius, and mine Homer's spirit. Call Tibbald Shakspeare, and he'll swear the
Nine, Dear Cibber! never match'd one ode of thine. Lord! how we strut through Merlin's cave, to see No poets there, but Stephen, you, and me! Walk with respect behind, while we at ease Weave laurel crowns, and take what names we
please. “My dear Tibullus ! if that will not do, • Let me be Horace, and be Ovid you: Or, I'm content, allow me Dryden's strains, 145 And you shall rise up Otway for your pains.' Much do I suffer, much, to keep in peace This jealous, waspish, wrong-head, rhyming race; And much must flatter, if the whim should bite, To court applause by printing what I write: 150 But let the fit pass o'er, I'm wise enough To stop my ears to their confounded stuff.
In vain bad rhymers all mankind reject; They treat themselves with most profound respect:
140 Stephen Duck, one of the familiar burlesques of patronage; a peasant, and a dull writer, but protected by queen Caroline. By Spence's interest he obtained orders, and the living of Byfleet in Surrey. He was drowned at Reading in 1756. His character was that of a decent and honest man; but ignorant, and as destitute of talents as of learning.
153 In vain bad rhymers. The vanity of a Frenchman is al. ways either ferocious or fantastic: Richelieu's was both. We have the amusing anecdote of his authorship, from the Mélanges of Marville; that when he heard of the censure
'Tis to small purpose that you hold your tongue; Each praised within, is happy all day long. 156 But how severely with themselves proceed The men,
who write such verse as we can read ! Their own strict judges, not a word they spare, That wants or force, or light, or weight, or care : Howe'er unwillingly it quits its place,
161 Nay, though at court, perhaps, it may find grace, Such they ’ll degrade; and sometimes, in its
stead, In downright charity revive the dead; Mark where a bold expressive phrase appears, 165 Bright through the rubbish of some hundred years; Command old words that long have slept, to wake; Words that wise Bacon or brave Raleigh spake;
passed by the French Academy on his tragedy of Europa, his first impulse was indignation; he tore up the manuscript in a thousand pieces, and flung it about the room : his next was despair; he flung himself on his bed, and lay there till midnight: his third was returning affection for his offspring; at midnight he rose, summoned his attendants, and spent the rest of the night in picking up the fragments and pasting them together.
167 Old words that long have slept. Harte told Warton, as the result of some conversations with Pope, that they conceived classical English to be comprehended in the principal writers, from Spenser to Pope. Pope here talks of reviving the dialect of Bacon and Raleigh, but he not less feels the value of the vigorous additions which a language may receive from the classics or from foreign tongues. The rigid adherence to the old models, on which Swift prided himself, and the modern propensity to praise the use of the feeble, the low, the dry, and the common-place, are alike fantasies of the hour: they are contradicted by the necessity of things. All men acquire new words with new knowlege; and all nations must equally acquire new words with their increase of foreign intercourse, their enlarge tivity, political and com ial, and their advances in general knowlege. England has thus enriched her
Or bid the new be English, ages hence,
phraseology from the treasures of the chief dead and living languages. France and Germany have given us our principal military terms; the northern languages our naval; Greek our scientific; Latin our language of eloquence and philosophy. England, left to her · English undefiled,' would be as naked as her own Picts.
The fear of rendering the classics of England obsolete by those additions, is equally visionary. Shakspeare is understood with as familiar delight at this hour as he was two hundred years ago. The terrors which seized the nervous among our purists, at the outpouring of Johnson's powerful vocabulary, have long since passed away: its turbidness has been cleared off in the general current of English literature; and its force has but added to the strength of the stream. The national language instinctively rejects all words unsuited to its genius, and retains only those which can adorn it by their elegance, or invigorate it by their expression. How few words have we borrowed from the dialect of tbe United States! How few have we suffered to enter our borders, even from the superb and fertile phraseology of the east! The Latin and Greek are still the true fountains that clothe our Saxon barrenness with beauty; the former giving us refinement of phrase, grace, and flexibility; the latter nobleness of sound: both giving unrivalled elegance, from their perpetual union with classical memories, with images of poetic loveliness, and with the most ardent and loftiest triumphs of the human mind.
168 Brave Raleigh spake. Aubrey says, that Raleigh, courtier as he was, spoke in a broad Devonshire dialect: the hero's voice too was effeminate. He partly accounts for James's hostility to him, by the remarkable circumstance, that, on queen Elizabeth's death, Raleigh, contemptuous of the Scots, whom he called 'a needy, beggarly nation, proposed to exclude James, and set up a commonwealth. The character of the feeble, pedantic, and pusillanimous James must have been well known to the English statesman; and it was not unnatural that the gallant and accomplished men, who had formed the ornament of Elizabeth's court, and done homage to the surpassing greatness of her policy, should have looked with scorn on her degenerate successor.
Pour the full tide of eloquence along,
If such the plague and pains to write by rule, Better, say I, be pleased, and play the fool: 181 Call, if you will, bad rhyming a disease, It gives men happiness, or leaves them ease. There lived in primo Georgii, they record, A worthy member, no small fool, a lord; 185 Who, though the house was up, delighted sate, Heard, noted, answer'd, as in full debate; In all but this a man of sober life, Fond of his friend, and civil to his wife; Not quite a madman though a pasty fell; 190 And much too wise to walk into a well. Him, the damn'd doctors and his friends immured; They bled, they cupp'd, they purged; in short,
they cured: Whereat the gentleman began to stare: • My friends,' he cried, “pox take you for your care!
195 That from a patriot of distinguish'd note, Have bled and purged me to a simple vote.' Well, on the whole, plain prose must be my
fate : Wisdom, curse on it! will come soon or late.